Celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By Hannah Mason, Assistant Editor

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, except for skin cancer, and is the second leading cause of cancer death in women.

About 1 in 8 American women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.

The American Cancer Society estimates that over 200,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in the US, and that 40,000 women will die from breast cancer. Though the statistics are grim, there are good statistics, too. The American Cancer Society also says that death rates from breast cancer have been declining since 1989 because of early detection through screening, increased awareness, and improved treatment.

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month began in 1985 as a collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical branch of Imperial Chemical Solutions, a company that makes several anti-breast cancer drugs. The popular pink ribbon originated in 1991 when the Susan G. Komen Foundation handed out the ribbons at a race for breast cancer survivors in NYC.

Ever since, Breast Cancer Awareness Month has been a national institution every October. Pro football players wear pink on the field, companies donate money for the cure when consumers buy special pink products, and fundraisers pop up in communities across America. The National Breast Cancer Foundation encourages women of all ages to take the opportunity in October to not only be aware of breast cancer, but to do something about it, by creating an early detection plan, spreading the word to other people about breast cancer detection and treatment, and either donating to breast cancer research or holding a fundraiser to encourage other people to donate.

In Ohio County, Breast Cancer Awareness Month kicked off with a wreath hanging at the Ohio County Health Department in Wheeling on Oct. 6. A breast cancer awareness education booth was set up during Oglebay Parkʼs annual Oglebay Fest the first weekend of October. OVMC hosted a Pink Power Night on Tuesday, Oct. 7, and the Howard Long Wellness Center held aWalk forWomen on Saturday, Oct. 12. Wheeling Hospital will host Rockinʼ the Ritz Breast Cancer Survivors event on Tuesday, Oct. 21. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is only halfway over, and itʼs still all about the statistics. According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, there are more than 3 million breast cancer survivors in the US.

The federal government devotes more than $850 million each year to breast cancer research. The five-year survival rate for women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer is about 99 percent, and about 70 percent of women over age 40 get regular mammograms, which are the most effective screening tool for early cancer detection.

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